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A midfield three of Marouane Fellaini, Nemanja Matic and Fred, though. It reminds me of the Busquets-Xavi-Iniesta triumvirate actually.
The big news is that Scott McTominay Paul Pogba is only on the bench and Alexis Sanchez has been left out entirely by Manchester United. Jose Mourinho has reacted ruthlessly after the draw with Crystal Palace. Pogba’s demotion means Fred makes a rare start in midfield, while Juan Mata and Romelu Lukaku also drop to the bench, Marouane Fellaini and Marcus Rashford stepping into the starting 11. Meanwhile Antonio Valencia replaces the absent Ashley Young at right-back and Phil Jones comes in for the injured Victor Lindelof. Plenty of changes before this Saturday’s trip to Southampton.
Manchester United: De Gea; Valencia, Jones, Smalling, Shaw; Matic, Fred, Fellaini; Lingard, Rashford, Martial. Subs: Romero, Bailly, Pereira, Pogba, McTominay, Mata, Lukaku.
Young Boys: Von Ballmoos; Mbabu, Camara, Von Bergen, Benito; Sulejmani, Sow, Lauper, Aebischer, Assale; Nsame. Subs: Wolfi, Bertone, Moumi Ngamaleu, Fassnacht, Schick, Garcia, Seydouz.
Breaking news: Manchester United’s team bus arrived at Old Trafford on time this evening. Signs of progress. The good times could well be on the way back.
Hello and welcome to what promises to be another night of thrills and spills at Theatre of Dreams. After all, Jose Mourinho has told his players to approach this game against Group H whipping boys Young Boys like it’s a knockout tie, though he’ll be hoping they don’t take that to mean he wants them to play like it’s Sevilla at home again. Probably best he hammers that home before Manchester United take to the pitch in an hour or so, especially as you can’t really be sure what this team are going to produce these days. Oh, how they tease us. Earlier this month they were right on it, winning in the last minute at Bournemouth, then producing a stunning comeback to win at Juventus and breathe fresh life into a stuttering Champions League campaign. But they followed that with a comprehensive defeat to Manchester City in the derby before plummeting the depths again last Saturday, drawing 0-0 with Crystal Palace, who counted themselves unlucky not to leave Jose’s House of Fun with all three points.
It’s three wins from nine home games now and Mourinho’s beginning to show signs of rancour again, questioning his team’s personality and character in recent days. But while it’s been a struggle in the league, at least United are enjoying themselves a bit more in Europe. It was looking dicey after their home defeat to Juventus last month, but that tribute to Turin ‘99 three weeks ago has put them in such an excellent position in the group that they could even qualify for the knockout stages with a game to spare if results go their way this evening. If United do their bit and see off Young Boys, who lost 3-0 when they hosted Mourinho’s side in September, all they’ll need is for Juventus to beat Valencia at home to be sure of a place in the last 16.Continue reading...
• Left-back’s relationship with United manager has improved
• Mourinho denies United are happier playing away from home
Luke Shaw has acknowledged that anyone playing for José Mourinho requires a “thick skin” but believes Manchester United’s squad now need to “fight for this manager and this club”.
As if to prove his left-back’s point, Mourinho responded by declaring that any player feeling cowed by the pressure of performing in front of 75,000 fans at Old Trafford would be better off staying at home and watching Tuesday night’s Champions League group game against Young Boys on television.Continue reading...